Eyewitness on the Somme 1916

Matthew Richardson

Eyewitness on the Somme 1916
Pen & Sword Books Ltd
United Kingdom
1 July 2016

Eyewitness on the Somme 1916

Matthew Richardson

What was the soldier’s experience of the Battle of the Somme? How did the men who were there record their part in the fighting or remember it afterwards? How can we, 100 years later, gain an insight into one of the most famous - and contentious - episodes of the Great War? Matthew Richardson’s graphic account, which is based on the vivid personal testimony of those who took part, offers us a direct impression of the reality of the battle from the perspective of the ordinary soldiers and junior officers on the front line. He draws heavily on previously unpublished personal accounts - letters, diaries, and memoirs, some never before translated into English - to build up a multifaceted picture of the Somme offensive from the first disastrous day of the attack, through the subsequent operations between July and November 1916. In their own words, the soldiers who were caught up in the conflict recall in unflinching detail the fighting across the entire Somme battlefield. The narrative features the recollections of British, Commonwealth, French and American soldiers, and interweaves their testimony with descriptions left by their German adversaries. For the first time in a single volume, the reader has the opportunity to explore all facets of this momentous five-month-long struggle. Over 100 black-and-white contemporary photographs, many previously unpublished, accompany the text, whilst a selection of artefacts recovered from the battlefield is illustrated in colour. These striking objects bear silent witness to the ferocity of the battle, and often reflect some moment of personal tragedy. AUTHOR: Matthew Richardson is Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage and was formerly Assistant Keeper of the Liddle Collection at the University of Leeds. He has a long-term interest in military history and research, focusing in particular on the First and Second World Wars. In addition to writing many magazine articles on military history, he has published several books including The Tigers, Fighting Tigers, Tigers at Dunkirk, Deeds of Heroes, 1914: Voices from the Battlefields and The Hunger War: Food, Rations and Rationing 1914-1918. SELLING POINTS: . Graphic first-hand accounts from both sides of the battlefield . Covers the entire course of the battle, from the first day onward . Features previously unpublished eyewitness material . Many previously unseen photos . Colour plates featuring artefacts recovered from the battlefield 100 colour and b/w illustrations

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